My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

Uninspired

Here we are at another Sunday night, meaning another weekend is over.  😦

I’m feeling very uninspired to write my blog tonight, so this may be short and sweet, or could turn into a real post as I start writing…who knows!

Today we submitted our measurements for the Mamavation Bob Harper Challenge.  I lost 4.2 lbs, 1.5 inches off my waist, and 0.5 off each thigh. I’d say that is a pretty good result for 2 weeks of workouts.  I think it also helped significantly that I really focused on my eating these past 2 weeks as well.  I’ve been eating a clean breakfast every day, bringing clean lunches to work, and for the most part had clean dinners as well.  I know for me, food is a HUGE factor when I am trying to lose weight.  So a couple of good food weeks, plus 2 great weeks of Bob Harper workouts, and I’ve had some good progress.  I think I am going to sign up for Bob’s website and keep up with the workouts.  They are quick, fun, and effective.  What more could I ask for?

I’ve got a busy week coming up.  I’ve got meals planned out for the week, but I’m out Monday and Tuesday, so I won’t be cooking until Wednesday.  Hopefully I can scrounge up a couple of clean breakfasts and lunches to get me through the next few days until I get some clean leftovers. 

Sorry for the boring post.  I’m just not feeling it tonight.  I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

tomorrow is another day

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New Things

Today was a day of new things.

I had to go to the mall to pick up a few things today, and went through Sears on my way into the mall. As I was passing the small kitchen appliance section, I noticed that the food processor I wanted was on sale for 20% off. I went and did the rest of my shopping and when I went back through Sears it seemed like it was just too good of a deal to pass up. So, I bought it!

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Now I need to find a recipe that needs everything chopped!

While I was picking up the food processor, hubs was checking out the toasters. Apparently he’s not a fan of our toaster oven. Did you know that there are toasters out there that cost $179! Seriously…it’s a toaster! I refused to pay that much for a toaster. In the end, he found a Frigidaire 4 slice toaster that has a special setting for bagels.

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This was also 20% off, so ended up being $89, which still seems like a ridiculous price for a toaster.

The best thing about my trip to Sears, was these both ended up being free. We cashed in some of our Sears points, so in the end, it didn’t cost us a penny! And that is awesome!

While small kitchen appliances are quite exciting, the best new thing of the day, hands down, was our visit with my new little nephew Ashton.

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He is the cutest little thing, and after an early entrance to the world (he was 8 weeks early), he is doing very well, and gaining weight like crazy. Today was his 1 month birthday. He just came home from the hospital last weekend. He slept for much of our visit, but still looked absolutely adorable…wouldn’t you agree?

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Today was the last day of the Mamavation Bob Harper workout challenge. We did a CrossFit workout called Karen. Apparently Karen is 150 Wall Balls. I don’t have medicine ball, so I modified by using a dumbbell and pushing it overhead instead of throwing the ball up. It was probably easier the way I did it, but 150 squats with the overhead dumbbell push was still a good challenge. I’m pretty sure I will be feeling it tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, it will be a rest day, and then I think I will sign up with BobHarper.com and continue these quick but intense workouts. I need to remember to take my “after” measurements. I think I will do them Monday morning, since I took my first measurements on Monday 2 weeks ago. I’m interested to see if there are any changes. I’ll let you know.

How was your Saturday?
Did you do anything “new”?

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The Friday Five (minus two!)

friday-five2

TGIF!  I am always a bit surprised just how happy I am when the weekend gets here! Here are this week’s Friday Five.

  1. I am entering the home stretch of the Mamavation Bob Harper Workout Challenge.  Today was an Upper Body Overload workout.  And let me tell you…it certainly overloaded my arms.  By the end of the workout I could barely lift them.  We did push ups, upright row combos, chest flies, front and lateral raises, planks with shoulder taps, and tricep extensions.  A pretty good upper body workout, that left me quite achy and quite worried about how it’s all going to feel tomorrow or even Sunday, since it almost seems worse 2 days after!  I think there is one more workout tomorrow, and Sunday is a rest day.  Then we take our measurements and see how we did over the 2 weeks.  I’m excited to see the results.  I’ve lost a few pounds, and hopefully lost some inches.  I can tell that I’ve toned up quite a bit and started to change my shape a bit.  Hopefully I get some good number results, but I won’t be too upset if I don’t.  I can tell it’s working and looking forward to keeping it up once the challenge is over.
    do the work see the results
  2. I’m loving my iPhone.  I’ve had my phone for 5 days now…and I am loving it more and more each day. I am getting used to the touch screen keyboard, and I’m not hating the autocorrect as much as I thought I would.  For the most part it has been right in what it thinks I mean when I do make typos.  I’ve got to spend some time in the app store and get some of the cool apps I’ve heard about.  I want to check out some of the running apps I read about on other blogs.  I’m hoping if I can find a cool running app, it might make me want to put my shoes back on and get out there for a run.  Any suggestions on a good running app? 
  3. I’m taking part in Ingredients of a Fit Chick’s FitPhotoADay challengeSara and her friend Aundra, from Fit For Life, created a list and each day, we post pics that represent the word of the day.  Here’s the list:
    2012novpad I’m having fun trying to come up with unique pictures for each word.  I now have an Instagram account (collerhead) but don’t really have any idea how to use Instagram, so feel free to give me some tips on how I can the most out of the app.

Now, I’m too tired (and too lazy) to come up with 2 more things, so this week’s Friday Five is the Friday Five minus Two! 

I hope everyone survived the week and is ready for a great weekend. I know I am!

Cheers!

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Rest day = Hockey Day

Happy Thursday, everyone.  We are so close to the weekend, I can almost smell it!

Today was another good food day for me.  I had 3 clean meals:  Hashbrown, Sausage & Egg Muffins for breakfast, more leftover African Stew for lunch, and more Hashbrown, Sausage & Egg Muffins for dinner.  I also had 2 clean snacks – a pomegranate-apple sauce and my last Dark Chocolate Date bar. 

Today was a rest day in my Mamavation Bob Harper Challenge, but that didn’t mean I got the day off!  Thursday is my hockey night.  It was another win for the Corona Crushers!  I had a good skate and some good laughs…and we won!  All in all, a good night!

When I got home, I watched a couple of shows I PVR’d tonight – The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy.  Big Bang just makes me laugh.  Sheldon kills me!  While I was watching my shows, I tried out some Tazo Chai Tea that I picked up at the grocery store last weekend.
 
tazo concentrate 
This is the same stuff you can buy at Starbucks.  I had it once before when a friend made it for me, but this is the first time I’ve made it myself.  It is sooooo good!  And so much cheaper than going to Starbucks, and has much fewer calories and sugar than a Grande Chai Latte at Starbucks. 

tazo nutritional info
A half cup of the chai concentrate and a half cup of skim milk comes to about 113 calories.  Not too bad,

An now, as always seems to happen, it is very late and I need to get to bed.  I think I should have made getting more sleep one of my goals for November!

Do you have any tips on how I can get to bed earlier? 
Night, Night!

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What a Workout Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day! The weekend is getting closer!

Today was another good day goal-wise for me. 

Food
Breakfast was slow cooker oatmeal that I got from my sister on a leftover trade.  She dropped off 2 oatmeal breakfasts and took a serving corn bread beef & black bean chili and a serving of the African Peanut Stew.  The slow cooker oatmeal was very tasty and filling, keeping me satisfied right until lunch time.  Which was good, because my morning at work was back to back to back conference calls that took me right through until 12:30, by which time I was very ready for lunch.

Lunch was leftover African Peanut Stew again.  I’ve had this every day for lunch this week, and once for dinner.  Good thing it tastes so good. I think I’ve got one more meal in the fridge, which I’ll take for lunch tomorrow. 

Dinner wasn’t ideal, but could have been worse.  I got home late from work and headed right upstairs to get my workout in (more on that below).  Hubs got home just as I was finishing up and wanted to go over to Best Buy to pick up something.  He suggested we grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants in the plaza near Best Buy.  My little guy was with us and he wanted Extreme Pita.  I had a Buffalo Chicken pita. According to the nutritional info their website, this worked out to be about 575 calories, 18g of fat, and 12.5g fibre.  So, not too bad, all things considered. 

This means I’ve met my goal for clean breakfasts every day and I haven’t gone out for lunch at work since making my “only one lunch our a week” goal.  It’s taking some effort and some planning, but so far, so good goal-wise.

get to work 
Workout: Today was a Bob Harper Live workout day.  This means Bob posts a video and we follow along at home.  Today was a 10-1 workout.  This means you do each of the exercises in the circuit for 10 reps, then repeat the circuit doing 9 reps, then 8 reps, and so on down to a final circuit of 1 rep per exercise.  I took a sneak peak at the workout today over lunch, and from the bit I watched, I could tell it was going to be a killer workout.  Bob said that if it was our first time doing this workout we could modify it to 10-8-6-4-2 instead, or even 5-4-3-2-1.  I did modify it a bit, since after the first round I could hardly catch my breath.  I did a combination the modifications.  I did 10-8-6-4-3-2-1.  By the end of it, I was once again dripping with sweat.  I am amazed at how great of a workout you can get in only 15-20 minutes.  Bob sure knows how to create a workout. I am totally loving them.  I’m pretty sure that when my free subscription with the Mamavation challenge runs out, I’m going to sign up to keep access to the site. 
bob harper screenshot 
I’m not sure if you know or not, but I’m on Twitter.  I’m not huge on it, like some of the other bloggers that I follow, but I make a few tweets here and there and I’m having fun following people.  As part of the Mamavation challenge, we have to tweet that we’ve completed our workout each day.  We need to tweet it to the organizer of the challenge @MrBookieboo and use the hashtags #Mamavation and #BobHarperLIVE.  For tweets that relate to the challenge I’ve also been including @MyTrainerBob which is Bob Harper’s twitter account. 

Today I tweeted a couple of things about the challenge:  First that it looked killer, and second that it WAS killer.  And guess who commented back, and retweeted my tweet?  Bob Harper himself!  Being relatively new to this whole crazy “twitterverse” I think that’s pretty darn cool!

retweet 
How are you doing with your goals for November?
Are you on Twitter?  Who are you following?

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Terrific Tuesday

Well, I have to say this was a pretty good Tuesday!

I had 3 perfectly clean meals, and didn’t have to cook a thing! That’s the beauty of leftovers!

Breakfast was 2 Hash brown, Sausage & Egg Muffins.  These little guys are quite tasty and only 105 calories per muffin.  A minute or so to reheat in the microwave and I was good to go.

hashbrown Sausage egg muffins 
Lunch, and dinner too, was leftover African Peanut Stew.  This stuff is good and I did not mind one bit that I had it twice today. 
african peanut stew

Added to my food for the day was a peach yogurt and a Dark Chocolate Date Bar.  Everything I ate today was clean…and totally delicious! 

Today was another circuit day in the Mamavation Bob Harper Workout Challenge.  Today’s workout was called “Lower Body Burn II”. This was a very appropriately named workout because my legs were burning by the end of it!  The workout included skaters, hops, squats, dead lifts, cross-back lunges, and leg lifts. Once again, I was totally amazed at how hard I was working and how sweaty I got working out for just 15-20 minutes.  These are some short, but intense workouts….and I’m LOVING them.  I can’t wait to see what Bob’s got lined up for me tomorrow!

liquid awesome  
Did you have a Terrific Tuesday?

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Food, food, food!

Normally, I am not a big fan of Mondays. It’s back to work, back to being rushed in the morning and after work, and just trying to fit everything in. Today, however, was a FANTASTIC Monday!

I had a great day food wise. I was 3 for 3 on clean eating. I had a clean breakfast of Chocolate Date Bars – so yummy! Lunch was leftover African Peanut Stew – absolutely delicious! Dinner was another new Clean Eating magazine recipe – Corn Bread topped Beef & Black Bean Chili.

This was a fun recipe. Basically you make the chili, and then you drop the corn bread batter on top of the chili and bake it in the oven. This was another delicious recipe…and produced 4 more leftover meals. I love clean cooking!!!

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One other bonus about this recipe, while the corn bread was cooking, I had 35 minutes. This was just enough time to squeeze in today’s Mamavation Bob Harper workout. Today’s workout was a brief warm up, then 9 different moves for one minute, as many reps as possible, and a cool down. The AMRAP minutes included squats, punches, dead lifts, burpees, upright rows, reverse flies, and a few more things that I can’t remember right now. When I saw this on the schedule for today, I thought 9 minutes no problem. Well, let me tell you they were 9 tough minutes! Once again, I got my heart rate up and was dripping with sweat at the end of the workout…and I finished up just as the timer on the stove went off to top the corn bread with some cheddar!

After I packed away the 4 leftover meals, I figured I would make my Clean breakfasts that I had on my meal plan for the week. So, I got out my grater, shredded some potatoes, whisked up some eggs, grated some Swiss cheese, sautéed up some turkey sausage, and voila! Clean breakfast for the week!

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Although all of those meals are awesome, the best part of my Monday was that I got an iPhone 5! Check out this beauty!

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Ignore the protective plastic that is still on it, this pic was taken when I first got it. I haven’t had a chance yet to get it fully set up yet. I’ve got my email on it, but it needs an iOS update and then I need to sync with iTunes and get my music and contacts loaded onto it. I also need to hit the App Store and load this bad boy up with all the things that make iPhone so cool!

After such a great Monday, I’m excited to see how Tuesday measures up!

How was your Monday?
Got any suggestions for cool iPhone apps?

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Goodbye Weekend

The weekend is almost over. It’s been a pretty good weekend, and despite having nothing to do, I got quite a bit done! 

Today was a rest day in the Mamavation Bob Harper Challenge.  This was a good thing, since my arms and shoulders are pretty achy from yesterday’s video workout, and my legs finally don’t hurt anymore from last Monday’s leg day.  I’m both excited and nervous to see what’s on tap for tomorrow.  It will be some kind of circuit, and I’m sure it will get my heart rate pumping and the sweat flowing.  I’m really enjoying this challenge and the Bob Harper workouts.  I’m considering signing up for the Bob Harper program after the challenge is over.  At only $9.95 a month, it seems like a pretty good deal.  I think the challenge only got us 2 weeks of free access to Bob’s site. so I’ll see how I feel this time next week and make my decision then.

I did some research into food processors.  I remember reading that Tosco Reno (the Queen of Clean Eating) got a food processor for Mother’s Day this year.  I figure if a food processor is good enough for her, it should be good enough for me!  I finally found the reference to the food processor on her Facebook page.  It’s is a Cuisinart Elite Collection 12 cup Food Processor. 

cuisinart elite 12 cupThey sell them at Sears, Home Outfitters, Kitchen Stuff Plus, and Canadian Tire also has them.  They are not the same price everywhere.  Unfortunately Sears is the most expensive, but that is where I have about $600 of free money to use, through my Sears Points.  So, even though it’s a little bit more there, that’s likely where I will get it since it will be free when I use my points.  I will try to go over to Sears at lunch one day this week and see if I can find out when they will be on sale, and if it’s close, wait until then to make my purchase.  I’m pretty sure I can get by for a few more weeks or a month without a new food processor. 

Today I planned out my menu for the week and then hit the grocery store to get all the needed items for a week of clean eating.

weekly menu and grocery list On the menu this week (all recipes from Clean Eating Magazine):

  • Hashbrown, Sausage & Egg Muffins (Nov/Dec p40)
  • African Peanut Stew (Nov/Dec p93)
  • Corn Bread Topped Beef & Black Bean Chili (Nov/Dec p62)
  • Stuffed Acorn Squash (Apr/May p41)
  • Mulligatawny Soup (Apr/May p54)

The Hashbrown,Sausage & Egg Muffins look great and will be good as a quick grab in the morning for taking to work for a clean breakfast…which is one of my November goals.  I was hoping to make them tonight, but just didn’t quite get to it, so hopefully I will get to them tomorrow.

For dinner tonight, I made the African Peanut Stew.  This was a relatively easy recipe to follow…just a bit of chopping.  Onions, sweet potatoes, chopped tomatoes, and Swiss Chard are the main ingredients of the soup.  Vegetable broth provides the liquid and peanut butter, curry, ginger, garlic,and jalapenos give it the amazing flavour.  The house smelled amazing when it was cooking. As good as the house smelled, the stew tasted even better.  This was yet another hit recipe. 

african peanut stewIn true Clean Eating fashion, this dish had LOTS of leftovers.  I’ve got 7 (yes, 7!!!) meals all set to take to work for lunch or ready for a quick meal on a hectic night.
african stew leftovers  
For November, I’m taking part in a Fit Photo-A-Day challenge hosted by Sarah of Ingredients Of  A Fit Chick and Aundra of Chestertown Fit For Life.  I’ve been having a bit of fun with it, and using Instagram for the first time. I’m still trying to figure that whole thing out.  Today’s photo word is “mat”.  So, when I sign off from here I will be heading up to take a picture of my yoga mat. Since starting my Bob Harper workouts, that yoga mat is finally getting some use when I do my stretches after my workout, rather than being rolled up and just sitting in the corner of my bedroom.

Well…another weekend is over.  It’s too bad they aren’t longer.  Oh well, 5 short days and we will once again be in weekend mode!

Did you try any new recipes this weekend? 
Whatever you did this weekend, I hope your weekend was a good one.
Here’s to a great week ahead!

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The Friday Five

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Welcome to the weekend, everyone! WOHOO!!!  Here are this week’s Friday Five.

1. It’s kind of sad how happy Friday’s make me!  Work has been an absolute zoo for me for so long, I actually don’t remember when it wasn’t crazy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.  I work on interesting projects all day and have wonderful clients to deal with.  But let me tell you, by the time Friday gets here I am so happy to know that for 2 days I don’t have to think about document edits, report writing, field management, or anything relating to my work life.  After work tonight I can’t wait to build a fire, curl up on the couch, and maybe watch a movie or catch up on some shows on PVR.   I think the Cure said it best:

Friday i'm in love

2.  It is Day 5 of Mamavation’s 2 week Workout Challenge with Bob Harper.  Today’s workout is called “The Fighter:  Boxing-Inspired Cardio”.  When I got home from work I really didn’t feel like working out.  I really wanted to have a nap.  But, I did the right thing and changed into my workout gear and got my program all set up.  Once again, the cat was quite helpful.  Tonight he obviously thought that the pages of the program were tormenting him, so he needed to show them who was the boss and shred my pages.

With the help of my assistant, I made my way through the program.  There were no weights involved today, just a lot of kickboxing moves that got my blood pumping and the sweat flowing.  Despite not really wanting to do the workout, I was glad that I did.  Now I can sit of the couch tonight and watch TV totally guilt free.  At some point I need to sneak in 30 burpees for the evil Halloween treats I ate today.  I wish my kids would just eat them and they can be gone.  I’ve been pretty good, but I can only walk by without reaching into the goody bowl so many times.

3.  So far I am doing well sticking to my November goals.  I am quite aware that November is only 2 days old at this point, but it’s important to get off to a good start.  Today for breakfast I had oatmeal with flax seed and a squirt of honey…nice and clean.  I brought lunch to work today and enjoyed some clean leftovers of apple ginger butternut squash and 1/2 pork chop.  I’m looking forward to breakfasts on the weekend when I have a bit more time and can make an oatmeal pancake or maybe try one of Bob’s good looking breakfast recipes.

4.  I tried a new recipe tonight:  Dark Chocolate Date Bars.  This is a recipe that Alex, over at Wholesome Living, created.  What caught my eye about this recipe was that I actually had all of the ingredients needed in my house.  I’ve been wanting to make them for a while, but didn’t get a chance until earlier tonight.  I got out my food processor and started working my way through the recipe.  All was going well until I needed to chop the dates in the food processor.  My food processor is a tiny little one and I hate it.  Using it tonight just reminded me how much I hate it.  It’s too small to really be useful and it is almost impossible to get the blade our to get the bowl off the machine.  Anyways, I throw my cup and a half of dates into the processor and soon hear some crazy knocking sound.  I’ve never used dates in a recipe before…turns out they have pits in them!  After digging out all the pits, things went a bit smoother.  I was eventually able to get everything into the processor bowl and tried to blend it all up.  This didn’t work too well since the processor wasn’t really strong enough to blend all the stuff.  I eventually wrestled with it enough and got the dough out of the bowl, but not before I cut my finger trying to get the blade out.  Did I mention how much I hater this food processor?  After a few choice words with my food processor, the bars were ready to hit the fridge to chill for an hour or so.

I just did a taste test…and OH. MY. GOD!!!  These things are AMAZING!  Chocolately, chewy, deliciousness.  I will definitely be making these again.  Guess I need to get a new food processor before then!  I’ve got a ton of Sears point that I can cash in.  Maybe I should go over and see what they’ve got in the way of food processors this weekend.

5.  Other than a few kid’s hockey games, I have nothing to do this weekend….and I can’t wait to do it!  After a month or so of fairly busy weekends, I am looking forward to not doing much of anything this weekend.  We may even do something crazy and go out for dinner without the kids!  Insanity, I know!  And one more bonus for this weekend…we get an extra hour of sleep Saturday night when the clocks turn back.  You have no idea how excited I am about that.   Sleep is something that I never seem to get enough.  Hockey times are decent (10am Saturday and 11am Sunday) so there is good potential for 2 fantastic sleep-ins in a row!  Unheard of.  Hopefully I will be able to sleep.  I don’t seem to be able to sleep in like I used to when I was younger, but I’m going to give it my best shot!

Over the weekend I will also be checking my Trainer Bob program to see what’s on the schedule for the weekend.  I think one day I will get a rest day and the other day there will be another “live” video to follow along with.  I’m actually looking forward to see what Bob has in store for us.  Each workout has been different, challenging, quick and fun.  Hopefully this next video will be all of those things as well.  I’ll let you know.

Now, it’s time for me put on my comfies and curl up in front of the fire.

What’s on the schedule for your weekend?
Whatever you do, have a good one!

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Hello November

I can’t believe that it is already November. This year is just flying by!

The beginning of a new month seems like the perfect time to set some goals. So, here are my goals for November:

1. Eat a clean breakfast every day. I have been good about eating breakfast, but many days it is a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter. It is always a whole wheat bagel, so it’s better than a white bagel, but I think I can do better. The last 2 days I had some overnight oats, which are much cleaner and keep me full all morning.  I’ve found some great clean breakfast recipes that I would love to try out.  Mornings are a bit crazy around our house, so this one may be a challenge to keep up, but I think it’s worth trying.

2. Only go out for lunch at work one day a week. This will also be a challenge, but hopefully I can make it work. I will need to do some planning, cook dinners that provide leftovers, and then fight the urge to go out with colleagues.  It’s hard to eat clean at many of the restaurants that we tend to go to for lunch near the office.  Plus, it really adds up when lunch is between $10-$20 every day!

3. Do some form of physical exercise 5 days a week. This week and next week, this goal will be easy to achieve since I have 5 workout days as part of the Mamavation Challenge that I am doing with Bob Harper. His program has 3 days with circuits, 2 with videos that we follow along with, and 2 days of rest. After the challenge I am going to see how I liked it and I’m considering signing up to BobHarper.com and continuing to workout with Bob’s programs. So far I am really liking the program. Plus, he has lots of great clean and healthy recipes available online. I also like the fact that the workouts are fairly quick and I’m actually enjoying them. At the start of the 2 week challenge we had to record our weight and measurements for waist and thighs. At the end of the 2 weeks we take those same measurements and see if we change. Hopefully all of the numbers will move in the right direction.

So, there they are, my goals for November. Here’s hoping I can stay on track and achieve them all.  Wish me luck.

Today was a rest day in my Bob Harper training program, but it was my hockey night, so I still got some exercise in.  We won 6-1 and I got 2 goals!  It was a good skate and there were lots of laughs in the dressing room before and after the game.

Now it’s late, and I’m exhausted.  Time to hit the sack.

What are your goals for November?

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